Greek SMEs strongly oppose Sunday liberalization plans

Greek small- and medium-sized enterprises and traders will resort with the Council of State in case the government decided to legislate on the opening of stores 32 Sundays annually, while strike
mobilizations will begin to declare the sector’s categorical opposition to such a measure, the sector’s representatives (both employers and workers) said during a news conference on Wednesday.

They announced a strike mobilization in the commerce sector on Sunday, 7 May and said that traders will close their shops one Sunday -from a total of 8 Sundays currently operating- for each Sunday that the government will legislate.

Vasilis Korkidis, president of the Hellenic Confederation of Commerce and Entrepreneurship (ESEE) and George Kavathas, president of the Hellenic Confederation of Professionals, Craftsmen & Merchants (GSEVEE), denounced the reappearance of the Sunday issue as an initiative of specific domestic business interests, with creditors acting as intermediaries to a demand by large multinational groups, shopping centers and malls.

“Their target is that large retail groups to control the market, crushing SMEs through the implementation of monopoly conditions and practices of pre-agreed prices and offers and to overturn workers’ rights by imposing and expanding flexible labour relations and wide-spread labour insecurity,” they said.

ΕSEE and GSEVEE urged all political parties to present their position on the issue and urged the government to present a clear plan by May 7. They also asked to meet with the President of the Republic and the Prime minister.

Panagiotis Kiriakoulas, secretary-general of the Federation of Employees in the commerce sector said a 30 pct of workers in the commerce sector were already suffering a breach of their labour rights and attacked plans for a further liberalization of Sunday work as a hostile measure for employment, labour conditions and payment.

They said that Sunday operation of shops so far has shown that the measure did not contributed to the country’s growth effort or in the creation of new job positions.